Enter a garden of earthly delights

By Sarah Marren
Posted 5/29/19

With summer around the corner and flowers blooming all across the Hudson Valley, one Montgomery couple is devoted to sharing their garden with others and helping to give to those in need along the …

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Enter a garden of earthly delights

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With summer around the corner and flowers blooming all across the Hudson Valley, one Montgomery couple is devoted to sharing their garden with others and helping to give to those in need along the way.

Joe and Heather Conley will host their annual Secret Garden Tour on Saturday June 1 with a rain day on Sunday June 2, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 126 Snow Bunting Court in Montgomery. While there, guests can give a free will donation to the Montgomery Food Pantry. Free light refreshment will be provided.

Heather Conley and her husband Joe have been gardening for approximately 20 years. Heather originally owned a childcare and learning center called Heather’s Child’s Place but sold it in order to spend time on their passion project, caring for the half-acre of garden they have behind their house.

It includes a 40 foot long babbling brook and four waterfalls. Joe and Heather have given names to these waterfalls, (Liam, Annalise, Luna and Vivian) after their four grandchildren. The garden itself contains hundreds of different flowers, which are either perennial (flowers that bloom slowly and last for up to two years) or annual (flowers that bloom quickly but only last a season).

“Presenting both perennials and annuals together is difficult because not all of the flowers bloom around the same time,” Joe says. The tour will likely include several kinds of flowers already in bloom but not much of flowers that bloom in late summer. Bleeding hearts, Lillies, dahlias, zinnias and verbena are just a few of the many flowers that will be on display when Joe and Heather host their tour at the beginning of June.

Joe and Heather have only recently started giving tours of their garden to the general public, and they only do tours once a year so they can focus on maintaining their garden the rest of the year.

Joe says that they’re giving the tour at the beginning of June this year so that they can spend the rest of the summer planting new flowers rather than waiting until halfway into the summer to plant flowers that won’t last very long, and even though Joe states that this kind of garden requires “doing maintenance everyday” it ultimately results in something amazing. When guests come, they can sit on any of the numerous patios around the garden and take in the view while enjoying the nice weather and refreshments. Joe and Heather never charge any admission for the tour because they just want to share their passion with other people, but they always appreciate it if people give a free will donation to the Montgomery Food Pantry.

Having attended the First Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Joe and Heather were encouraged and encourage others to give back to their community. It may not seem like a lot, but Joe said that one thing the church taught him was, “It’s often the little things we overlook that have the most meaning.”

The generosity that he and his wife show from letting people see their passion project and by volunteering at the Food Bank of Montgomery show displays that they practice what they preach. It shows that you don’t have to do a huge project in order to give back to the community because sometimes the smaller things have just as much meaning.

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